by Robin Leahy, RN, FHRS, CCDS, PaceMate™ Director of Customer Experience, and Jason Hale, CCDS, PaceMate™ Co-Founder and Vice President of Commercial Excellence
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, cardiac electrophysiology nurses and allied professionals have played a pivotal role in the remote monitoring of patients with CIEDs.
Device clinicians are often the ones who truly know the patient the best—both clinically and personally. A device patient and any caregivers involved likely spend more time with device clinicians than with a doctor or any other staff member. These clinicians are tasked with the very important responsibility of assessing and troubleshooting CIED function, arrhythmia detections, and a myriad of device diagnostics—all from vendors with different terminology and unique capabilities.
The Increased Burdens of Remote Healthcare
Due to COVID-19 and the widespread adoption of remote monitoring, in-office device checks have reduced substantially, driving the importance of prompt remote monitoring assessment and triage. With almost all implanted cardiac devices being hyperconnected through bluetooth or radio frequency (smart phone apps or home monitors), the volume of alerts and patient-initiated data being sent to vendor sites has never been higher.
While some practices have dedicated remote monitoring staff, most experienced device clinicians are asked to juggle in-clinic and remote service from day to day. It has also been PaceMate™’s experience that due to the sheer volume of data that never stops, most device clinics are understaffed and unable to sufficiently monitor, document, and bill for the increasing large number of cardiac patients.
With this increased importance and unsustainable volume of remote cardiac data, many clinics and their staff are at or close to a breaking point. Fear of COVID exposure has led to substantial burnout among device nurses and technicians. Around the country, device clinicians are leaving their positions. Because experienced CIED clinicians can be difficult to find and retain, losing staff can cripple a clinic’s ability to monitor their patients.
A Remote Monitoring Solution
PaceMate™ provides options for short- or long-term clinical support to device clinics, and we are perfectly positioned to help those debilitated by the pandemic dynamics.
For the few practices that are sufficiently staffed to handle their patients’ clinical data 24/7, the PaceMate™LIVE Platform and EHR connections maybe the best option.
But the majority of practices of all sizes are inadequately staffed to manage the amount of data coming in from CIEDs. For these practices we offer our PaceMate™LIVE On-Demand software+service—allowing the customer to choose when PaceMate™ provides extra support and when they can manage the load themselves.
Advantages with PaceMate™
On-demand remote monitoring service gives peace of mind to practices during off-hours for the worst clinical scenarios. PaceMate™ brings added professional tech support whenever the volume is excessive or when staffing is reduced unexpectedly.
PaceMate™ provides clinics with a 24/7/365 option—an around-the-clock extension to their practice that ensures all remote transmissions are initially assessed by PaceMate™ clinicians and available for immediate review by the device nurse or technician.
To clarify, PaceMate™ does not replace the practice’s device clinicians. Since our inception and during our current management of 75,000 patients, we have never replaced a device nurse or technician. All of our device clinic customers see the benefit of our clinical support: As they come into the office after a long weekend or holiday, the PaceMate™ dashboard immediately identifies exactly which patients need attention first and which reports are more benign and can wait.
The partnership between PaceMate™ and medical practices empowers nurses and device clinicians to focus on compassionate patient care, supported by a team of experts as needed.